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You can sit there and cast a jig without ever leaving the vehicle.
-- Andrew R. Giza

BROOKFIELD â€" Diana M. and Stephen C. Nickerson have seen a lot of interesting things on Quaboag Pond since they moved there almost four years ago, but yesterday brought something new and truly different.

Mr. Nickerson looked out the window of the couple’s home across Quaboag Street from the shore of the large pond about 7:30 a.m. and saw a 1989, 30-foot-long, white stretch limousine heading out on the ice for a some early morning ice fishing.

“My husband saw the limo on the ice and said ‘I guess it’s safe enough to drive on,’ †Mrs. Nickerson said yesterday afternoon.

Mrs. Nickerson estimates the ice on the pond, which she says is at least 500 acres in size, is about 15 to 18 inches thick.

Martin R. Palka, 58, of 126 Summer St., Palmer, one of three people in the limo owned by his nephew, Andrew R. Giza, 21, of Crescent Street in Warren, also said the ice was at least a foot thick.

“We measured it,†he said yesterday afternoon.

Mr. Giza said he and a friend bought the limo about a year ago for $400. Yesterday, it made its maiden voyage on ice.

Mr. Giza said most people have a very basic question when they see a limo.

“They ask us why we got a limo and I say ‘Why not?’ â€

Yesterday was no different on the windswept surface of Quaboag Pond.

“They were telling us it’s sweet,†he said when asked about the reaction of other ice fishing enthusiasts. “Everywhere we go we always get comments.â€

The limo contains an approximately 2-foot-wide and 2-1/2-foot-tall electric fireplace from a friend’s house that has been adapted to provide ample heat to the limo, which also contains a television, DVD player, Xbox and small refrigerator.

The limo that Mr. Giza said held 12 people at a recent bachelorette party also includes an approximately foot-wide hole in the floor toward the rear of the vehicle near the heater that Mr. Giza said has a cover that can be moved aside for easy access to the ice.

“You can sit there and cast a jig without ever leaving the vehicle,†Mr. Giza said.

When he bought the vehicle it needed a new floor and the decision was made to put one in with a custom-built slip-up ice fishing hole.

“I knew it would be perfect for ice fishing,†he said.

Mr. Giza proclaimed yesterday’s ice debut a success and he plans to return Sunday to Quaboag Pond, a body of water, he says, that freezes about the same in all spots and thicker than other nearby lakes. The only hitch yesterday occurred when Mr. Palka had to use his pickup truck to tow the limo off the shore after it got stuck on a hump in the ice near the boat ramp to the pond.

Mr. Palka said he and Mr. Giza were joined yesterday by Rick Brady, 62, of Palmer, who caught a hornpout and perch.

Mr. Palka didn’t know if and when he will return to Quaboag Pond for another ice fishing expedition.

“We didn’t catch too much; it was a slow day,†Mr. Palka said.

Mrs. Nickerson said from her vantage point there are very few slow days on Quaboag Pond. She said it is common to see float planes land on the pond during the summer. Winter sees many people ice fishing and snowmobiling, and she said the annual Brookfield Lions Club Ice Derby is one of the highlights of the winter, which is also a time when hot air balloons land on the ice and iceboats whisk across the surface.

“There’s more activity in the winter than summer,†said Mrs. Nickerson, who works from her house. “Right now we have a caravan of six vehicles heading out onto the ice.â€

Mr. Nickerson goes out on the ice to fish most days and Mrs. Nickerson says she joins him sometimes. She said family members meet occasionally on the ice for cookouts and what she termed adventure walks.

“Our grandkids love it,†she said of winter on Quaboag Pond.

The pond contains bass, perch, pike and hornpout, and Mrs. Nickerson said her husband caught a 6-pound bass some time ago.

Mrs. Nickerson said the family, which trekked out onto the ice for the first time this season on Dec. 11, doesn’t eat the fish they catch, however, because of suspected high mercury levels.

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hope they make sure all the fish are out of it:D
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